Skip to main content

Power Rankings: 2016 Valspar Championship

Getty Images

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour remains in Florida this week for the Valspar Championship. A field of 144 players will tackle the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, home to a daunting three-hole stretch known as the "Snake Pit."

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Ryan Lavner. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Jordan Spieth won this event last year in a playoff over Patrick Reed and Sean O'Hair. Here are 10 players to watch in Tampa:

1. Jordan Spieth: Even without much recent form to speak of, Spieth remains the favorite as he defends his title against a field that lacks some starpower. Before last year's dramatic playoff win, Spieth finished T-7 and T-20 on the Copperhead Course and he enters off a T-17 finish on a difficult layout at Doral.

2. Henrik Stenson: The burly Swede didn't make much noise last week in Miami, but that should change a few miles north. Stenson finished T-4 last year at Innisbrook in his tournament debut, and his crisp ball-striking should make him a strong contender. Prior to a T-28 finish at Doral, Stenson finished T-3 and T-6 during the European Tour's Desert Swing.

3. Danny Willett: Willett continues to thrive in limited U.S. starts, this time coming off a T-3 finish in Miami. His performance may have come as a surprise at last year's WGC Match Play or the Open Championship, but he is now a bona fide contender on nearly any track - including the cozy confines of Innisbrook, where this week he makes his tournament debut.

4. Jason Dufner: Dufner stands in stark contrast to Willett, with a bevy of course experience and success. He has four straight top-25 finishes at this event, highlighted by a T-10 finish in 2013, and after winning earlier this season in Palm Springs he ended a mini-lull with a T-11 finish last week in Miami.

5. Patrick Reed: Reed would have won this event last year were it not for Spieth, as the two engaged in a thrilling duel that went to overtime after Reed's closing 66. While he has struggled over the past two weeks, Reed finished T-6 last month at Pebble Beach and was a runner-up to Spieth earlier this year in Hawaii.

6. Harris English: The American is quietly racking up some strong results, with a 10th-place showing at Doral coming just a few weeks after he finished third in Phoenix. English tends to play well at Innisbrook, with two top-10 finishes over the last three years, and he needs a strong result to ensure a spot in the match play bracket later this month.

7. Graeme McDowell: McDowell's T-28 finish at Doral would have been even more impressive were it not for a quadruple bogey on the 72nd hole. Coming on the heels of a fifth-place showing at PGA National, McDowell is clearly playing well and heading to a course whose reliance on tee-to-green accuracy should accentuate the strengths of his game.

8. Kevin Na: After a runner-up in 2014, Na followed with a T-10 finish at this event last year. While he has cooled since his torrid stretch in the fall, Na did finish T-3 in Palm Springs in January and is another example of the accurate ball-striker who typically gets rewarded at Innisbrook.

9. Webb Simpson: Simpson hasn't played since Phoenix, but he has finished T-17 or better in each of his last three starts dating back to January. A runner-up here in 2011, Simpson reeled off four straight top-20 finishes on the Copperhead Course from 2010-13.

10. Ryan Moore: Last year's 54-hole leader ended up alone in fifth after Moore posted a final-round 72. He is making his first start of the Florida Swing, but Moore has finished T-11 or better in four of his six starts this season including a 10th-place showing at the Northern Trust Open in his most recent start.